The elevator doors close and the gentleman in the elevator looks at you and notices your Rotary pin. He follows with “excuse me mame, what is the pin about” This is your chance to give the “elevator pitch” about Rotary. What is Rotary, what it does and how it changes lives, and if enough time, invite them to be a Rotarian.
Do you freeze or do you have a potential new member when the doors of that elevator open?
As a Rotary Club, we try to communicate to our members and potential members about Rotary. The weekly messages, social media, emails, flyers, website and the Ambassador are all filled with the weekly with projects and information about the difference our Rotary Club makes in the lives of children, youth and their families.
In addition, our weekly meetings usually have information about the projects and initiatives we as a Rotary Club participate in. The President usually includes context in their message plus Rotary Moments or a Committee Chair speaking about the project. We have even had speakers provide their personal experience and discuss the project or initiative.
And yet we still hear we need to communicate better; we need to inform our Rotary Membership about the things are Rotary Club does. For a medium size Rotary Club, we have many, many, many projects and initiatives taking place. Our committee structure allows us to do more work collectively reaching international and local communities with a mirid of projects.
I turned to a long serving Rotarian for advice and was surprised with his response;
“As I gave further thought to how to better inform our Rotary membership of the things our Rotary Club does, I suddenly realized the secret to knowing what our club does is…ENGAGEMENT!” He said
When you give your Time, Treasure and Talent to a project you know what it is. It is not based on how long you have been a Rotarian it is about how involved you are. Those of us who know what projects our Rotary Club is doing, don’t know about them because we’ve been around so long, we know because we’ve been doing the work, donating to the cause and applying our skills to make projects work better.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t find better ways to document, share and preserve these things (email, social media, the Ambassador, etc.) but the reason some members can’t articulate what we do is that they don’t “show up” for anything. If you haven’t: given away books at Books, Books, Books; been a Rotarian of the Day at Summer Literacy; fed our kids at the Rotary Children’s Christmas Party, help clean-up a park, played or volunteered in the Golf Tournament, donated to the Sunshine Fund, bought tickets and invited you friends to Laughs for Literacy, sponsored a class for the Christmas Party, not to mention, liked a Facebook article, like and retweeted a twitter posting, you are……..probably complaining that you don’t know what we are doing.
We can produce lots of fabulous communications, but the best way to be informed is to be engaged. There is so many opportunities to be engaged as we are a very active Rotary Club. It is true that you only get out of Rotary what you put into it!
If your only involvement in Rotary is attending the weekly lunch meeting, you can talk about the lunch but you have not seen and been part of the benefit f being a Rotarian. Doing good in the community and the world is very self-rewarding!
There are Rotarians in every Rotary Club around the world, that can explain what Rotary is and the many benefits it does locally and internationally, some of them are long standing members and some are new members. They are able to speak about Rotary and inspire others because they are the ones volunteering and contributing…Service Above Self! No newsletter, email or tweet can explain the personal connection and benefit you witness when you get involved.
So, before the next elevator, are you ready to talk about Rotary? Take the opportunity to get involved and engaged. Enjoy the fellowship event and learn from other Rotarians, attend a committee meeting, read the Ambassador, volunteer for the next hands on service project, be part of our Golf Tournament. You will be an expert on what Rotary does and see first hand how we make a difference in our community. Last year over 4,500 children & youth benefited from the efforts of our Rotary Club, can you say you helped!